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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Pilot Projects

Overview

NIOSH Pilot Projects Research Training Program

The goal of the Pilot Projects Research Training Program is to enhance Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) regional outreach efforts in research training and to foster stronger inter-institutional ties in occupational health research within Public Health Region 6 (PHR 6) (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). The objective of this program is to provide a support mechanism for pilot research projects initiated by:

  • Junior faculty exploring the feasibility of new research approaches that may allow investigators to collect preliminary data to subsequently develop larger grant applications
  • Graduate research trainees that need partial or supplementary funding to complete or enhance short term studies (e.g., doctoral dissertation research); and/or
  • Faculty in areas other than occupational health research who wish to transition or expand their research interest to workers’ health issues (“new faculty investigators”).

Graduate students and other junior investigators in occupational health and safety as well as faculty in areas other than occupational health research investigators with new interests in occupational health and safety are invited to submit applications for short-term research projects. Support for these projects is available through a supplemental Research Training award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to the SWCOEH at UTHealth School of Public Health.

To learn more about the Pilot Projects Research Training Program, see a list of the current as well as the past grants awarded by fiscal year here. In addition, you can see a list of outcomes of the program (e.g., publications, presentations, funded projects) by fiscal year here.

Information

2018-2019 Funding Opportunity Announcement

Award Information

Award Name: Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Federal Award Identification Number: T42 OH008421

Award Year: July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019

Federal Awarding Agencies: Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Sub-Award Flow-Through Requirements

Applicable Regulations: 45 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 75, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards

45 CFR Part 75 supersedes regulations at 45 CFR Part 74 and Part 92

Eligible Applicants

The Pilot Projects program aims to provide a support mechanism for research projects initiated by personnel at any institution located within Public Health Region 6(PHR 6) (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas), including those with Training Program Grants. Funds are available for three categories of awards including:

  • Junior Investigator Awards: New investigators with research interests in the general area of occupational health and safety. Junior investigators are defined as faculty who have not served as PI on any Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research grants other than a R03, R15, R21, K01, K08, or K12.
  • Research Trainee Awards: Graduate doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows in an occupational health and safety-related discipline.
  • New Investigator Awards: Faculty in areas other than occupational health research who wish to apply their expertise to an occupational safety and health issue.
  • Previous Pilot Project Awardees are not eligible to reapply.

Availability/Use of Funds 

Approximately $50,000 is available in the upcoming fiscal year to fund short-term research projects. The maximum amount awarded to a single project will be $10,000 (inclusive of direct and indirect costs). Faculty trained in areas other than occupational health research who wish to apply their expertise to an occupational safety and health issue (“new faculty investigators”) may apply for projects with a budget up to $20,000. Only one application per applicant is allowed. Awards will be made on a one-time basis with an end date of June 30, 2019 without possibility of renewal. Previous Pilot Project Awardees are not eligible to reapply.

Funding is contingent upon NIOSH’s notice of award to the SWCOEH for the corresponding fiscal year.

Use

Funding is designed to directly support the implementation of the research plan. Salary support for the investigator is discouraged and administrative staff support will not be allowed. Course costs (i.e., tuition and fees) are not an allowable expense. Additionally, the budgeting of computers into the proposals is not an allowable expense unless it is an essential need to conduct the research (e.g., a laptop to collect data during the field work; but not simply data entry).

All applicants are encouraged to request that their institutions waive indirect cost requirements. Should indirect cost requirements not be waived, the program will only support up to 8% of the direct costs. Proof of IDC Waiver application to the applicant organization must be submitted with the proposal packet. Whether IDC is waived or not by the applicant organization, a letter from the applicant organization stating such must also be submitted.

Programmatic Interest

Submitted projects must be relevant to the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) of NIOSH (see http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs). Submitted applications for the Junior Investigator and Research Trainee award categories should originate from areas within the traditional occupational health and safety-related disciplines including occupational medicine, occupational health nursing, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, ergonomics, toxicology and occupational epidemiology. Applications for the Junior Investigator award category should originate from investigators in areas other than those listed above. Projects not addressing NORA goals and objectives will be determined non-responsive, and will not be reviewed further.

Proposals for all should emphasize basic or applied research that brings especially innovative perspectives or paradigms, ideas, and/or approaches to occupational health research. All applications should address occupational health and safety needs in Region PHR 6, foster the research career of the Principal Investigator, and promote research capacity-building in the Region. In addition, the proposal should include a brief statement describing the investigator s plan for dissemination of project results in the peer-reviewed literature and future applications for extramural funding.

Application Instructions

NIOSH ERC Pilot Projects Research Training Application

Proposal Format Instructions and Guidelines for Submission

Please click here for a printable version of the Application Instructions and Guidelines.

Page 1: Cover Sheet and Signature Page

Please complete the cover sheet and signature page and submit with your proposal.  The form is available here.

Page 3: Table of Contents

Page 4: Abstract (one page)

  • Begin this section by stating to which NIOSH Sector or Cross-Sector Programs and specific Strategic Goal your application contributes (see http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs). Use the following format: This application contributes to the Service Sector Program Agenda and the Strategic Goal 4: Reduce the incidence and severity of work-related stress disorders in services sector workers.
  • Provide a summary of the objectives, aims, hypotheses, significance, research plan and expected results.
  • Include a brief statement summarizing how the award will enhance the research career of the principal investigator, and a description of how the work to be funded by this award will contribute to the development of a research career or a new research focus. 

Page 5: Biographical Sketch of Principal Investigator (five pages)

  • Please provide a Biographical Sketch of the principal investigator following the new NIH format (Download biosketch)
  • DO NOT EXCEED the MAXIMUM page limit.

Page 10: Budget Form 

Please complete the Budget form.

Budgets must be inclusive of direct and indirect costs and must reflect allowance for expenses related to travel to Houston to present the findings of the research.  All applicants are encouraged to request that their institutions waive indirect cost requirements. Should indirect cost requirements not be waived, the program will only support up to 8% of the direct cost exclusive of equipment and tuition/fees. Proof of IDC Waiver application to the applicant organization must be submitted with the proposal packet. Whether IDC is waived or not by the applicant’s organization, a letter from the applicant organization stating such must also be submitted.

Page 11: Budget Justification (two pages)

Provide a concise description of budgetary items and a justification of the proposed research needs. This section should be no longer than two pages.

Page 13: Proposal Format Instructions (six pages)

Include the following sections as part of the Research Strategy, following the NIH Restructured Research Plan format:

  1. Specific Aims
  2. Research Strategy
    • Significance
    • Investigator(s)
    • Innovation
    • Approach
    • Environment
    • Preliminary Studies/Data, if applicable
  3. Expected Results
  4. Plan for Dissemination of Results and Future Applications for Extramural Support

Separate from these pages:

  • Briefly provide a justification of your eligibility for the category of award you are applying (i.e., Junior Investigator Award, Research Trainee Awards and New Investigator Awards). Use maximum half a page.
  • For applicants applying under the Research Trainee Award, include a Mentoring Plan. The purpose of the mentoring plan is to demonstrate that research trainees have the appropriate advising and mentoring support at their institution to carry out the research including the publication of their study findings. A mentoring plan outline with items that should be addressed is available here. Use a maximum 2 pages.
  • Provide a statement and references as to how human subjects and/or vertebrate animal issues will be addressed and any literature cited. Attach appropriate institutional review and approval forms.
  • If needed, include additional information instrumental to the review of the proposal as Appendices. For instance, if the proposed project involves organizations or persons other than those affiliated with the applicant institution, letters of support must be included as Appendices. Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. 

Use the following format to submit your proposal:

  • Page: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Margins: 1 inch margins
  • Font: Times New Roman or Arial
  • Font size: 11 point
  • Line spacing: single-spaced pages

Send an electronic version of your completed application to:

Peggy Weinshilboum, MBA
Program Coordinator
NIOSH Pilot Projects Research Training Program
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health
E-mail: PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu

Reporting Requirements

Successful awardees will be required:

1. To complete a short progress report due every quarter to briefly document their progress toward the objectives of their awarded project. This brief report should present research activities to date, progress made toward project objectives, unexpected delays or events which might influence the achievement of project objectives, and plans to address any delays or unexpected events.

2. To give an oral presentation of their study results at a research symposium to be held in June 2017, at the UTHealth School of Public Health.

3. To submit a final report written in manuscript form and adhering to journal guidelines due at the completion of the project. A list and copies/reprints of any publications resulting from the project must be included in this final report.

4. To acknowledge the funding support in presentations and publications emanating from the pilot awards.

5. To complete a short annual survey requesting updates on program outcomes for a period of 5 years after the end of the funding period.  This information will be used to demonstrate the impact and value of the program as well as for program improvement.

Evaluation Criteria

The mechanism for funding projects through this Program will be a competitive process modeled after the National Institutes of Health enhanced peer review system and modified to meet the purpose of this RFA. Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated by the SWCOEH for completeness and responsiveness. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will not be reviewed. If the proposed project involves organizations or persons other than those affiliated with the applicant institution, letters of support must be included.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the announcement will be reviewed by a Scientific Review Panel composed of internal and external peer reviewers and will be determined to be scientifically meritorious or non-meritorious based on review criteria described below. Non-meritorious applications will be withdrawn from further consideration and the principal investigator will be notified. Meritorious applications will be assigned a priority score based on scientific merit. Following this first-level review, the applications will undergo a Programmatic Review for relevance to the goals and objectives of this RFA. 

Criteria for the Scientific Review include:

A. Scored Review Criteria (Scored individually and considered in overall impact/priority score)

  1. Significance:
    • Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field?
    • If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved?
    • How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
  2. Investigator(s):
    • Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?
    • If Early Stage Investigators or Junior Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training?
    • If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)?
    • If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?
  3. Innovation:
    • Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions?
    • Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense?
    • Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?
  4. Approach:
    • Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?
    • Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?
    • If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?
    • If the project involves research involving human subjects or a clinical investigation, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
  5. Environment:
    • Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?
    • Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed?
    • Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?

Reviewers will consider the following additional (items B and C) in the determination of scientific and technical merit, but will not give separate scores for these items.

B. Additional Review Criteria (Not scored individually, but considered in overall impact/priority score)

  1. Human Subjects, Gender/Minority/Children, Vertebrate Animals and/or Biohazards Issues:
    • Are the procedures of proposed adequate for the protection of human subjects and/or vertebrate animals, appropriately documented, and in compliance with applicable published regulations?
    • If human subjects are involved, does the research plan include both genders, minorities and/or children? If the plan does not include such gender, minority and/or children representation, is there justification?
    • Are proposed materials or procedures potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment? Is adequate protection proposed?

C. Additional Review Considerations (Not scored individually and not considered in overall score)

  1. Budget:
    • Is the budget reasonable and appropriately justified?
    • Are all costs (direct and indirect) included in the budget?
    • Has travel for presentation of results at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston been included?

Criteria for the Programmatic Review include:

  1. Relevance of the proposed project to occupational safety and health issues in PHR 6.
  2. Severity of the injury or disease in the region.
  3. Usefulness of the research to technical knowledge on the identification, evaluation, or control of occupational safety and health hazards on a regional and national basis.
  4. Scientific merit of the proposal as determined by the Scientific Review.
  5. Availability of funds.

Applications considered scientifically meritorious and programmatically relevant, will be invited to revise and resubmit their proposals in view of the received written critique. There is no guarantee that revised proposals will be funded. Revised proposals should satisfactorily address the reviewer’s comments and will receive a second level of review by the Scientific Review Panel.

Notices

Funding is contingent upon NIOSH’s notice of award to the SWCOEH for the corresponding fiscal year.

Budgets must be inclusive of direct and indirect costs and must include travel for a presentation of results at the UTHealth School of Public Health. Supplements will not be awarded.

Appropriate approvals must be obtained prior to the Scientific Review and awards for use of animals, human subjects, radioisotopes, biohazards or other special approvals.

Decisions of the review panel will be final.

Key Dates

The requested receipt date for proposals is April 6, 2018.  The letter must describe the objectives of the proposed research and which areas of occupational safety and health it addresses. The requested receipt date for proposals is May 1, 2018.  Send the completed application by email to PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu.

Awards will be announced soon after review.  Funds cannot be disbursed to any awardee until all pertinent institutional review board (IRB) or institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) approvals are received by the Pilot Projects Research Training Program Coordinator.

Contact Information

For Additional Information

David I. Douphrate, PhD, MPT, MBA, CPE
Associate Professor and Director
NIOSH Pilot Projects Research Training Program
UTHealth School of Public Health
San Antonio Campus
Phone: (210) 276-9005 / Fax: (210) 276-9028
email: David.I.Douphrate@uth.tmc.edu

Peggy Weinshilboum, MBA
Coordinator
NIOSH Pilot Projects Research Training Program
UTHealth School of Public Health 
Phone: (713) 500-9479 / Fax: (713) 500-9442
E-mail: Peggy.J.Weinshilboum@uth.tmc.edu  or  PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu